Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
bradknowles

Parry and Reflect mechanics are broken — let’s fix them

Recommended Posts

 

Thanks for the reply. I think it's better because if you cancel a success in a pool that hits by one success you negate the entire hit.

In my experience, very few shots are barely successes like this. But then a "shot" in the terms of this game is actually the cumulative effect of potentially multiple blasts over a minute-scale period of time.

So, with the narrative aspect to combat, I think you need to get away from thinking about reflecting or negating an entire "hit", because it may be just one roll but it is almost never actually just one blast.

 

My experience has been much the same, with only rarely does the attacker only succeed by a single success.  I'd say that about 90% of the time, the attacker has two or more successes.

 

And you've got a good point in that combat rounds in this system aren't the "handful of seconds" that most tactical-based RPGs use, with FFG having suggested a default of about a minute in the Combat chapter of each rulebook.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

And against a major villain, sometimes that occasional "free shot" from Improved Parry (which the target can themselves use Parry against BTW) is the best chance a PC can have of actually landing a hit.

I don't think you can Parry a hit from Improved Parry. Parry requires a hit from a combat check.

 

According to Sam Stewart you can, as he had a FaD playtest session where a PC and an Inquisitor used Improved Parry five times total in the course of a single round.

 

Also, if you read the talents, Improved Parry indicates the damage is dealt as a hit against the target, and Parry triggers on a successful hit.  So per RAW, you can use Parry against a hit caused by Improved Parry.

 

I was saying you can’t Parry a hit from Improved Parry.

Using Parry requires a hit from a combat check. Not just a hit. It also clearly states it happens after step 3 of Perform a Combat Check, which is not the case with a hit from Improved Parry.

This part of the rule is important and intentional so LS duels don’t come down to strain with no skill checks.

 

It also reduces the number of hits with a LS that have no way of criting.

I don’t know who wants to see a bunch of hits with a LS that do 1 or 2 or 4 damage with no chance of a crit. That’s contrary to source.

There are ways to use Improved Parry multiple times in a round (if you have the strain):

1. If the combat check on the hit you are using Improved Parry on generated six threat or two despair or some combo of these.

2. From separate combat check hits you take in a round.

And if you can Parry an Improved Parry there’s even less incentive to make an LS combat check, especially if you have Supreme Parry. Stack defense, conserve strain, and use powers and weapons that cause strain damage.

I’m not familiar with that game session but maybe Sam was testing out new rules. If that’s the new rule it necessitates errata but I’d rather LS hits be a function of LS skill more and not less. I’d also like LS hits to come with a chance for a crit and have the single finishing blow combat model rather than the whittle away combat model.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Thanks for the reply. I think it's better because if you cancel a success in a pool that hits by one success you negate the entire hit.

In my experience, very few shots are barely successes like this. But then a "shot" in the terms of this game is actually the cumulative effect of potentially multiple blasts over a minute-scale period of time.

So, with the narrative aspect to combat, I think you need to get away from thinking about reflecting or negating an entire "hit", because it may be just one roll but it is almost never actually just one blast.

 

My experience has been much the same, with only rarely does the attacker only succeed by a single success.  I'd say that about 90% of the time, the attacker has two or more successes.

 

And you've got a good point in that combat rounds in this system aren't the "handful of seconds" that most tactical-based RPGs use, with FFG having suggested a default of about a minute in the Combat chapter of each rulebook.

 

 

What would you say is the most common success result in your games? By 2, 3, 4, 5? I tend to use defense a lot in combat and use destiny to upgrade difficulties in general. I also think I error on the side of slightly higher difficulty levels. Also, my players tend to attempt things out of their skill repertoire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And if your experience is an outlier, and your suggestion became the default, is that a good mechanic for the game as a whole?

 

I understand what you're saying about simulation v abstract, and how it can be hard to visualize a hit as partial without breaking your sense of immersion.

 

But before you write off the beta mechanic wholesale, I'd suggest keeping track of margins of success on every roll for like 2-3 sessions.  just keep a spread sheet or a piece of paper close by to mark it down.

 

Once you have that data, go back through it (accounting for combat and non-combat of course) and see if your theory holds.  And that's not even the best data, but at least it's data that you can track and work with.

 

FWIW, I think the current rules are good.  But that doesn't mean there isn't a better option out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And if your experience is an outlier, and your suggestion became the default, is that a good mechanic for the game as a whole?

 

I understand what you're saying about simulation v abstract, and how it can be hard to visualize a hit as partial without breaking your sense of immersion.

 

But before you write off the beta mechanic wholesale, I'd suggest keeping track of margins of success on every roll for like 2-3 sessions.  just keep a spread sheet or a piece of paper close by to mark it down.

 

Once you have that data, go back through it (accounting for combat and non-combat of course) and see if your theory holds.  And that's not even the best data, but at least it's data that you can track and work with.

 

FWIW, I think the current rules are good.  But that doesn't mean there isn't a better option out there.

This is great advice but I think it bears pointing out that the one success discussion is a moot point becasue it's based on a misunderstanding of my proposal. I'm saying it works  against checks that have 1-3 successes at base (and more with more ranks by an order of +1). For some reason it was read that in only works in the case of one success so I clarified my wording. I feel very comfortable that 1-3 covers a lot of checks. I'd be very surprised to hear otherwise. In fact maybe too many so maybe it should be 1+ ranks. 

 

And if you get hit by four you get rid of three damage just as the rule is now.

 

Here's an example:

 

If the check succeeds by 3, you spend three strain and it does not hit, move on. No calculating soak before soak and all that. Some Stormtroopers missed. What's the big deal? Why spend time saying they did like 2, 3, or 1 damage and figuring out why getting hit by a shot from a blaster rifle did not just take you down?

 

Eventually you will not have the strain or the check will succeed by more than your ranks and a crit is a problem.

Edited by usgrandprix

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sharing this to inform the discussion. I just used the die roller 300 times

 

2 proficiency and 1 ability versus 2 difficulty out of 100:

 

Fail: 32

1 success: 29 (most common success)

2 success: 19

3 success: 13

4 success: 4

5 success: 3

 

Any success: 68

Success by 2+: 39

Percentage of successes that were not one: 57.3%

 

3 proficiency and 1 ability versus 2 challenge, 1 difficulty, and 1 setback out of 100:

 

Fail: 55

1 success: 13

2 success: 14 (most common success)

3 success: 10

4 success: 7

5 success: 1

 

Any success: 45

Success by 2+: 32

Percentage of successes that were not one: 71.1%

 

2 proficiency, 1 ability, 1 boost versus 1 challenge, 1 difficulty, and 1 setback out of 100:

 

Fail: 42

1 success: 24 (most common success)

2 success: 17

3 success: 15

4 success: 1

5 success: 1

 

Any success: 58

Success by 2+: 34

Percentage of successes that were not one: 58.6%

 

Combined:

 

Fail: 129

1 success: 66 (most common success)

2 success: 50

3 success: 38

4 success: 12

5 success: 5

 

Any success: 171

Success by 2+: 105

Percentage of successes that were not one: 61.4%

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Parry/Reflect should just increase ranged or melee defense respectively in place of reducing the damage.

 

Problem with that is you can wind up giving your enemy 4+ setback dice everytime they try to attack you. Which not only drastically changes how combat would be handled with lightsaber-based force users, but just sort of becomes a pain where everyone is rolling fistfuls of setbacks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Parry/Reflect should just increase ranged or melee defense respectively in place of reducing the damage.

 

Problem with that is you can wind up giving your enemy 4+ setback dice everytime they try to attack you. Which not only drastically changes how combat would be handled with lightsaber-based force users, but just sort of becomes a pain where everyone is rolling fistfuls of setbacks.

 

 

Yup, this is the path to Dice Bloat. No fun. Plus there is Defensive Training already (so that takes care of a ranked Melee defense) and one option to gain Deflection rating to lightsabers (that being the Lorrdian gemstone). Helps to keep the dice pools to a moderate fistful :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Parry/Reflect should just increase ranged or melee defense respectively in place of reducing the damage.

While possible, it does lead to a distinct problem that the developers have sought to avoid as much as possible, that being excessively large dice pools.

 

That's why there are more talents to remove setback dice from skill checks than there are talents that add boost dice; it's a means to allow the PC to be "better" at certain tasks than the rest of the group while also keeping the amount of dice rolled on any given skill check under control.  It's also why characteristics and skills have a hard cap in how far you can advance them, and why most difficulty ratings cap out at 5 purple.  The design team was looking to avoid the "is that thunder or are you rolling dice?" situations that some other systems deal with, such as Shadowrun and HERO being two big ones; those two use regular six-sided dice, where FFG's usage of special dice with symbols unique to the system would only cause headaches if one were rolling a dozen or more dice on a skill check.

 

It wasn't as big a deal when Awayputyrwpn and I did our respective Jedi specs (his as part of a career, mine as a universal spec) back when the only core rulebook was for EotE, as a PC generally wouldn't get more than one or two ranks in the talents that added melee defense or ranged defense.  And as Away noted, there's Defensive Training which already adds to the PC's melee defense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Parry/Reflect should just increase ranged or melee defense respectively in place of reducing the damage.

 

Despite the dice growth, I feel the same way. If layered with the other abilities that increase range/melee defense, it is easier to get the movie jedi. Attacking a jedi producing a fist full of setbacks would get ugly quick for the attacker.

 

I think it would have the added benefit of reducing the need for so many Parry/Reflect talents sprinkled through the trees. As it stands the trees have too many copies of this talent just to get the soak value to a reasonably high level which seems klunky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Parry/Reflect should just increase ranged or melee defense respectively in place of reducing the damage.

 

Despite the dice growth, I feel the same way. If layered with the other abilities that increase range/melee defense, it is easier to get the movie jedi. Attacking a jedi producing a fist full of setbacks would get ugly quick for the attacker.

 

I think it would have the added benefit of reducing the need for so many Parry/Reflect talents sprinkled through the trees. As it stands the trees have too many copies of this talent just to get the soak value to a reasonably high level which seems klunky.

 

Ups, EDIT:

 

One thing i'm trying to do in EotE that I might try in force and destiny is to make some defensive talents give "flat successes", making them a bit more reliable. For example, Dodge adds 1 extra failure to the attack roll. Easy to calculate, and it does not need any more dice. I got the idea from someone in the forum actually.

Edited by Leam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For example, Dodge adds 1 extra failure to the attack roll. Easy to calculate, and it does not need any more dice.

 

Dodge doesn't need any more dice anyway, unless all existing purples have already been upgraded for some reason.  By removing the upgrade, you're robbing the Dodger of a chance to narrate a Despair on the attacker.

 

One thing i'm trying to do in EotE that I might try in force and destiny is to make some defensive talents give "flat successes", making them a bit more reliable.

 

 

Reliability is boring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

For example, Dodge adds 1 extra failure to the attack roll. Easy to calculate, and it does not need any more dice.

 

Dodge doesn't need any more dice anyway, unless all existing purples have already been upgraded for some reason.  By removing the upgrade, you're robbing the Dodger of a chance to narrate a Despair on the attacker.

 

One thing i'm trying to do in EotE that I might try in force and destiny is to make some defensive talents give "flat successes", making them a bit more reliable.

 

 

Reliability is boring.

 

 

I'm not removing the upgrade, i'm adding the flat failure to the attack on top of it. As many other players and GMs i've seen in the EotE forums, I find the defensive options the players are given lacking, other than trying to bump soak. The chances of a success that an upgrade gives are not a lot, specially when you're turning a purple into a yellow instead of adding a purple. 

 

I havent tested this particular change yet, I was just mentioning in case anyone was interested. I havent played a lot of EotE yet since we've been busy finishing our previous campaing.

 

As for reliability being boring, I agree. I dont think the flat bonus would make it too reliable.

Edited by Leam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing i'm trying to do in EotE that I might try in force and destiny is to make some defensive talents give "flat successes", making them a bit more reliable. For example, Dodge adds 1 extra failure to the attack roll. Easy to calculate, and it does not need any more dice. I got the idea from someone in the forum actually.

That's how we do it too. If you use Reflect or Parry you add ranks + 1 failures or threats (or combo) to the rolled pool. Quick and simple and does not add dice. It results in more complete misses but that's what we are going for becasue, well, they are called Parry and Reflect...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure, but other defenses don't do the defensive mechanics the way RAW Reflect and Parry do so why should they? In fact most defenses provide defense by potentially adding negative results to the pool. Removing "potentially" from that statement is more consistent with the rules than adding a whole new mechanic, but that's my opinion. Play how you like!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because to do it as set back or failures makes it potentially too strong. Doing it as soak works better.  I suspect that is what they found in internal testing. 

Daeglan's correct on having Parry or Reflect simply add setback or auto-failures makes those talents far too valuable.

 

One of the apparent design goals for Force and Destiny was to avoid "Jedi uber-PC" problems that plagued the prior RPGs, especially Saga Edition.

 

By having Parry and Reflect both count as damage mitigation (though not precisely soak since they're unaffected by Breach and Pierce) and having a Strain cost, this does two things.  First, it keeps with the design goal of the lightsaber-wielding PCs don't become nigh-invulnerable tanks able to avoid being hit entirely, especially when stacking defensive talents like Dodge, Defensive Stance, and Side Step and including Sense's defensive Control Upgrade, since not only is there a strain cost involved (thus preventing a PC from stopping damage indefinitely) but the choice to use those talents carries a bit more weight to them; rely upon them too often and you'll find your PC coming uncomfortably close to exceeding their Strain Threshold.

 

An "always on" defensive effect such as adding setback dice or automatic failures starts pushing the PC too close to that "more powerful than the other PCs" line.  Particularly when (not if, but when) the PC starts picking up other LS Form specs.  Soresu Defender and Shien Expert make very good add-ons, as they both provide ranks of Parry and Reflect as well as the Improved Reflect talent.  At one or two ranks of Parry/Reflect, adding extra setback or automatic failures isn't that bad.  But when the PC gets up to four or five ranks of Parry/Reflect, the effect becomes far more pronounced, particularly with the automatic failure aspect as it becomes almost impossible for anyone to hit that PC.  Or perhaps more frustratingly, nigh-impossible for a PC to land a blow against an Inquisitor with Parry or Reflect (or both!) or the Fallen Master (who does have both Parry and Reflect) adversaries, as both NPCs have multiple ranks in Parry/Reflect.

 

I think a big part of the disconnect for some folks is that they keep thinking that the Jedi we see in the prequels are examples of what a Force and Destiny PC should be, when the simple truth is that the prequel-era Jedi are more of the endgame of what a Force and Destiny PC aspires to be.  An actual Jedi Knight would probably have 6 to 8 ranks in Parry and Reflect, and combined with other defensive traits (talents such as Dodge or Side Step and Sense) would enable them to pretty much negate any attack that does manage to hit them, or at the very least reduce the damage so much that their inherent Soak Value either takes care of the rest or enough so that the Jedi Knight would only take a point or two of damage from an attack that would probably cripple if not incapacitate a regular person.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And even then, it's worth noting that a lot of prequil Jedi died really quickly in the opening conflict in the arena. I imagine those were mostly padawans and people with unbalienced defences, but I also imagine a good chunk of those had simply run out of stamina to keep up with a relentless flow of battle. There was a good reason that Jedi were never deployed together again; they were evidently gifted tacticians but also that Jedi were not that effective a combat resource in large scale combat. They were best used to spearhead assualts in small numbers to better guide the troops and prevent the foe from planning on their appearance.

 

Well, that and the Jedi were stupid enough to jump into a pit to have their battle. Seriously, whoever invented that battle plan deserved to be shot with force lightning and blasted out of a window. But it highlights a good point that the system makes up well: Most Jedi from that area would have superior armour that in combination with Parry and Reflect would allow them to effectively nullify a considerable number of blows. TBH unless your fighting a lightsaber wielding foe, that would probably be enough to get a Jedi through a short encounter; if not they likely bit off more then they could chew for their level of experience. Picking a good engagement is as much a Jedi skill as anything else at their disposal.

 

If that isn't enough for your session for a large conflict, it's also worth noting that you can have that fellow function in a group, and can essencally treat members of that squad as abbrasive wounds to repersent the fact that they are dodging and defecting well but that other members of the squad were not so fortunate.

Edited by Lordbiscuit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

By having Parry and Reflect both count as damage mitigation (though not precisely soak since they're unaffected by Breach and Pierce)...

 

This actually sort of felt weird to me, and was part of my feedback during beta. I feel like those talents should remove soak bypassing abilities such as Breach and Pierce. If you Reflect, you get the benefit of adding soak since 9/10 times the majority of blaster weapons don't have those qualities. If you're going into melee where you will use Parry, you're going to end up facing off against more weapons that have at least Pierce, if not Breach when it comes to lightsaber fights. I found it unfair that essentially at range you're still allowed the benefit of soak, but not when you're facing off against melee weapons--many of which have things like Pierce and Breach. 

 

I houseruled at this point that Parry and Reflect remove soak negating abilities when used. This really makes no difference when it comes to ranged attacks, because as I said, less ranged weapons have Breach or Pierce. It helped to make saber fights last a little longer at least. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(not quoting to avoid long posts)

 

I belive we've strayed a bit of my point and I belive usgrandprix's. I was not talking about "always on" defenses. The Dodge I'm using right now works just like the Dodge of the book, except it also adds a point of flat failure (I like the option of using it for threats usgrandrpix mentioned, might check on that) to the roll. It still costs strain, you still need to activate it etc.

 

I'm not saying that you can translate this directly to parry and reflect, or that I'd work with the current amount of talents you see in the trees etc, but I find it to be a simple way of adding value. Maybe there'd need to be less talents for it to work that way, or at a different costs, or make it give ranks/2 failures instead of 1 x rank since it shows up much more than Dodge, etc.That said,  I dont see how in the point where the pc has 4 or 5 points of Parry/reflect it would differ a lot. In both cases, both if  you're using it as soak or failures, the jedi will probably fall once he has no more strain and not before.

 

Now, my problem with the soak logic in parry and reflect is basicaly this. Say you have a somewhat newbie Jedi. As many like to remind, a turn can be several shots, however it can also be han solo shooting greedo. So you have your newbie Jedi with a rank or two in reflect and parry which gives him his extra soak. Each time he is hit and uses reflect or parry, he will get some damage. It's simply ridiculous in many situations and it forces the narration to constantly get hit with gracing shots instead of properly parrying, and the way defenses work in the game, the Jedi will get constatly get hit by attacks of dmg 6-8, and he will constantly use parry/reflect, will mitigate part of it and get hit for a few points.  He can't *ever* fully deflect an attack unless it's made with the blaster version of a derringer revolver. He can narrate it like that anyways of course when the shot just fails, but if he activates deflect, he is already hit, and he will take the damage.

 

Now adding flat failure point, he will activate his parry and reflect. Maybe he will parry it totaly, maybe he will mitigate 1 or 2 points of damage, or maybe he fails and get hit. This makes more sense in my head, and it works both in the "getting shot several times" or the "getting shot once".

 

Edit: typos everywhere

Edited by Leam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it's not always on becasue it costs 3 strain (but I do that a bit differently too). That's pretty expensive. It's easy to take 3 or so shots at a PC in a few rounds and suddenly Reflect is not an option. Autofire is always deadly too. Strain weapons get particularly nasty too.

If your encounter is combat superiority, yeah, you'll probably "win" against a single opponent, just like the movies. I admit it's a bit more powerful, but that's based on the source, which I'm not at all quick to abandon.

But to say it's nothing you can't still make a challenging encounter for is a bit simplistic. I can still threaten them in combat alone, strain is precious, but when you open up encounters where combat superiority is not the objective, well, there are several hundred comic books with the likes of Superman, no? And that's where the fun starts.

If during that time you are trying to rescue the rebel spy, cross a chasm, bring down the deflector shields, and unlock the docking clamp on your ship to escape, having a few rounds to deflect blaster shots is very Jedi and Star Wars in my opinion. The hero feels cool by deflecting some shots in a very rules light fashion and we can all move on to what's really at hand without it being a forgone conclusion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...